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Friday, July 20, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Linky, D5 Chapter 7, and a Blog Makeover!!

Whew, I have had a busy past few days! We got word on Monday that we would be able to get into our classrooms starting Tuesday. Needless to say, I have been working furiously since Tuesday afternoon. I didn't take any before pictures, but will have plenty of after pictures coming soon!

I was very excited to learn about Grade 3 is the Place for Me's linky party for new bloggers.


1.  what state you are in--Arkansas. I was born here, moved away, and returned for college (at the strong suggestion of my parents, lol).

2.  your current teaching position--I teach a third grade integrated class.

3.  your teaching experience--I graduated with my Master of Arts in Teaching in 2009. I had a really hard time finding a job my first year, and took a job as a Reading Recovery teacher/Interventionist. As it turned out, I learned so much about teaching reading, and ended up getting to teach the literacy block for the 4th grade advanced class. I absolutely LOVED that position. My boyfriend and I then moved to a different city within Arkansas, where I obtained my current teaching position. When we moved, I decided to add another certification to my teaching credentials--Special Education! I am now entering my third year of teaching in my current city. 

4.  when you started blogging--I started blogging at the beginning of this July. I have only been here for three weeks!

5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource--Don't get discouraged if you don't have a lot of followers right away. I know it's hard (it's hard for me), but hold out hope that you will one day have many followers! 

-------On to Daily Five: Chapter 7-------

Use a Chart or Grid to check-in before every round. I'll see if Mrs. A can save the chart she used as a PDF and I will add it here and to my shops as a FREEBIE :) You have already seen the checklist the students use to keep track of their stations, but I like to have one for myself also... just in case there are any discrepancies. 

I also like to use check-ins as a time to reflect and assess how we are doing in out D5 stations. My students felt comfortable enough to be honest about their progress, and were always willing to share a glow/grow about themselves.

A schedule for Daily 5 can easily work with any school schedule. If you have a long block of time, that is ideal, but you can also create a schedule in smaller chunks, spread throughout the day. 

I am fortunate, and for the past two years have had roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes of solid instruction time in the morning and the afternoon. We also have a small (30-45 minutes) chunk of time between our pull-out class and lunch/recess. Our administration is really good about creating schedules that allow us to get the most out of our day.  

Once the routine is established it allows teacher to do DRA's, reading inventories, conferences,  and oral reading check-ins. I am hoping to do a better job of creating times to meet for individual conferences and strategy-based groups this year. Also, since my class is integrated, I have a paraprofessional for 2.5-3 hours a day, and really make sure I am using her in the best possible ways. Since last year was my first time with a para, I didn't always do the best job of giving her small groups to work with... The paraprofessional at our school are wonderful, WONDERFUL, and this year I am going to make sure that my kids get the most out of both of us!!

Practice Sessions
This past year, we practiced for 3 minutes to begin with, met for a check-in, and practiced again, to see if we could beat our previous time.

I love, love, love this stopwatch poster I found over at A Differentiated Kindergarten. I think it's a great way to keep track of our stamina, and promote that little bit of competitiveness to drive the students!


Set Up Room
Setting up a gathering place--I talked about this in an earlier chapter... Chapter 2, maybe? I'll have to go back and check. But we have a carpet where we meet for our check-ins, most of our mini-lessons and whole-group lessons. What can I say? I love that carpet!

Organizing your library--This is something I SWEAR I am going to do this summer. My books are organized by genre/type of book, but I haven't labeled all the books yet, so it makes it hard to keep them organized... It's just so time consuming, and *confession* I can't always decide in which basket to put some books. Does this happen to anyone else??

Work areas--I have organized my room so that there are many different places to work with my students. If I get lucky and can trade out the rest of my desks for tables,  I think it will provide a very easy and convenient way for both my para and I to meet with small groups at their tables--I think that will be SO cool--us coming to them, instead of the other way around!

Reading nooks--My room is well adapted for reading nooks, and I have purchased (i.e. spent way too much money) on pillows and little comfy chairs for my students to use.

Confer with Students
After meeting with a small group for guided reading/literature circle, or instead of meeting with a group, the teacher has the opportunity to have individual or small group conferences to track reading/writing goals and progress. I think this time is ideal for RTI groups, but again, this is an area in which I need to improve this year. 

One thing I liked that the sisters said was that the teacher should move around the room to gather students, instead of calling out their names. Calling out to the students interrupts their concentration and the ambiance of the room. 

-------Blog Make Over-------
I want to give a HUGE shout out to Mod Melon for my blog design. I did not want anything to bright or cutsy... that's just not me, and this design fits my personality perfectly. Kind of subtle, but still cute :) If you are looking for a blog design, check them out! 

I'll try to post again tomorrow... maybe with some classroom pictures and definitely will some freebies! 


  1. So, I love the new blog design. LOOOVE it! So calming to read! I also love how your comment link is at the top of the page! Looking good!!

    1. Tanks for the compliment! I'm still trying to figure something out... Like how to link my blog at the bottom of my comments, lol.

      If you're ever interested, you should check out Mod Melon. I hunted around for a while, and they were very reasonably priced!


  2. So have you figured out how to get a notification when someone replies to your comments? I've been wondering where you've been, but don't ever see responses! Weird! Anyways I just missed reading your blog so much that I nominated you for the Liebster award! Come over and get it!


    1. Thanks for the award! I did figure out how to reply, did you see the last one I made on this post?

      Now I need to figure out how to create a link to my blog at the end of comments!!


  3. Just found your darling blog. What a great feeling to know when you can get into your room. Fortunately for me, our school lets you all summer long!! Have fun decorating your room~


    1. That must be so nice to be able to get into your room all summer! I'm afraid if I had that opportunity I might never leave!

      I'm following your blog now :)

  4. Hi...I am your newest follower and I have nominated you for an award. Please "hop" over to my blog to pick it up.

    1. Thanks for the award Amy!

      I look forward to following your blog, especially since you are working with RTI students and K-2 Co-taught. I know I will learn so much from you!


  5. Hi! I am your newest stalker! Love the look of your blog. It is so bright and beautiful!

    Come over and give me a shout...my blog is very new..so it doesn't have much...but I'm working on it!

    Mrs. B's Nook

    1. I love meeting other new bloggers!

      I see that you teach a Gifted and Talented class. I am thinking about getting a (second) Masters in GT. I just finished my licensure in SPED... but I want to keep learning! :) Plus I just heard about this great loan forgiveness program through a local college.

      I look forward to following you!

  6. Hi,
    Just found your blog through the blog hop. I'm a newbie too!! Love your blog design! Hop on over to my blog for a visit.
    Ms Jones Junction

    1. Crystal, your blog is SO cute!

      I'm your newest follower! I look forward to reading more about your class!


  7. I just found your blog through the newbie blog hop and I am your newest follower!! It is so cute!! I would love for you to visit when you have a chance.

    Mrs. Wood's Class

    1. Jess, I'm so glad to have you as a new follower! I'm following your blog now, too!


  8. Hi there! I'm stopping by to let you know that I nominated you for an award! You can swing by my blog to pick it up!

    Teaching Snip-Its

  9. I found your blog through another blog. Come visit us sometime for some freebies and ideas. http://primarypossibilities.blogspot.com/
    Your newest follower, Stephanie


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